As the World AIDS Day is being celebrated around the globe, millions are still dying. Last year alone, it claimed 300,000 lives due to AIDS-related tuberculosis. In spite of the intensive health care programs of different health care sectors and stakeholders, the spread is unprecedented and the Philippines has one of the highest growth rates in the world.
According to the UNAIDS, there are simple, affordable and effective HIV/TB programs that are readily available to people living with HIV and these include antiretroviral therapy, TB diagnostics and treatment, regular TB screen and TB preventive therapy for those who do not have the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis.
“Ending TB, the world’s biggest infectious killer, would save millions of lives and help lift people out of poverty and disease. A third of all people living with HIV die of TB, so the impact on the AIDS response would be enormous. By working together, we can achieve a healthier future for all,”
Executive Director of UNAIDS.
Furthermore, the data of UNAIDS have shown that the antiretroviral therapy has averted millions of possible deaths in 2016 and has been estimated to have saved around 1.21 million cases. Prevented deaths from AIDS was due to the positive outcome of the effective treatment of antiretroviral therapy (ART) and prevention of HIV transmission through condom use.
Education about HIV/AIDS is a very important factor to prevent the transmission of the disease, however, in spite of these, many are still getting infected.
The latest report of the Department of Health Report showed that there were 954 new HIV positive individuals recorded adding to the total cumulative cases of 59,135 since 1984. Out of the total number of reported cases, 8,533 alone were recorded from January to September of this year. From these cases, 1,520 were already in advanced infection, or in clinical stage 3 or 4, as classified by the World Health Organization. The report also showed that 459 HIV/AIDS-related deaths in the country were tallied and mostly were males.
The Philippine National AIDS Council confirmed that in this year, as many as 32 Filipinos are diagnosed daily with HIV/AIDS.
In MIMAROPA alone, Palawan still remains to be on the top with most HIV cases recorded. Reports have shown that out of the 590 cases in the region, 295 of these are from the province.
The rising cases among the millennials, according to health experts, could be due to social media and other apps that enable them to find sexual partners in easier way.
Schools and universities have to spearhead and take the lead to ensure that their students are well informed to stop the spread of the disease.
More intensive campaigns to include educational awareness sessions, voluntary testing and early treatment have to be initiated and could be successfully undertaken through support and cooperation of stakeholders from the government and non-government organizations.
Together, we can end this battle. We, who have yet to do anything about it, must start now.